Horrific new details emerge from Oregon college shooting

Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer
Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer

Horrific new details are emerging from the Oregon college shooting.

The gunman opened fire on one classmate after saying he could save her life if she begged, and others were killed after being told to crawl across the floor, according to relatives of students in the classroom.

However, Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer spared a student and gave the “lucky one” something to deliver to authorities, according to the mother of a student who witnessed Thursday’s rampage.

Authorities have not disclosed whether they have an envelope or package from Harper-Mercer, who Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said had killed himself as officers arrived. But a law enforcement official said a manifesto of several pages had been recovered.

Bonnie Schaan, the mother of Cheyeanne Fitzgerald, said she was told by her 16-year-old daughter that the gunman gave someone an envelope and told him to go to a corner of the classroom.

Harper-Mercer said the person “’was going to be the lucky one”’, Ms Schaan told reporters outside a hospital where her daughter’s kidney was removed after she was shot.

Relatives of other survivors of the shooting that killed nine also said Harper-Mercer gave something to a student in the class.

Pastor Randy Scroggins, whose 18-year-old daughter Lacey escaped without physical injuries, said she told him that the gunman called to a student, saying: “’Don’t worry, you’re the one who is going to survive.”’

Harper-Mercer then told the student that inside the shooter’s backpack was “all the information that you’ll need, give it to the police”, Mr Scroggins said.

The gunman killed his English professor and eight others at an Oregon community college before taking his own life, authorities said.

Investigators previously said the 26-year-old shooter was killed by the officers who raced to the scene of the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, which ranks as the deadliest among dozens of US mass shootings in the past two years.

Mr Hanlin said an additional handgun was also recovered from the shooter's apartment, making a total of 14 weapons seized: eight from his home, and six he took to the college.

Harper-Mercer was officially identified on Friday as the assailant who survivors said stormed into the classroom of his introductory writing class the day prior and shot the professor at point-blank range, before picking off other victims one at a time as he questioned each about their religion and whether they were Christians.

In a brief statement issued on their behalf by state police, the gunman's family said they were "shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific events", and their thoughts and prayers went to the relatives of the dead and injured.

The father of the Oregon college gunman told CNN he "has to have some kind of issue" with his mental health to have killed nine people execution-style and wondered how he amassed such a large cache of weapons.